Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal led a helicopter tour of areas directly impacted by the oil spill and flew over docks loaded with undeployed booms. Accompanying the governor were Coast Guard officials who seemed surprised that only HALF of Louisiana's available boom had been deployed to protect fragile beaches and wetlands.
After the tour Jindal, came out strongly against BP, saying, "It shouldn't be up to BP to decide when the boom gets deployed, or when the skimmers get deployed. So, one of the reasons we brought the Coast Guard with us today, was to see for themselves — the boom's not out there."
When asked by reporters, Capt. Edwin Stanton head of the Louisiana Coast Guard, seemed to deflect blame from BP and onto himself, making the surprising statement that it was his fault that he hadn't pushed harder on BP to get booms deployed when the emergency response teams had fourweeks to prepare the fragile beaches and wetlands for the oil slick to hit land.
Something is very fishy here. First, if Capt. Stanton is as slow and dumb as he says, why was he appointed to head the lead emergency response team during one of its biggest crises? As I've reiterated over and again, the Coast Guard, as part of the Department of Homeland Security, is under the direct command of President Obama (Janet Napolitano is the Ssecretary of DHS, executing the direct order of the president). Thus it is clear Obama has displayed an epic failure of leadership by not establishing a capable team to police BP's cleanup efforts.
Second, BP is notoriously incompetent when it comes to cleanup operations and should never have been given free reign by the Coast Guard and the commander in chief to monitor its own cleanup operations. If you all recall, BP held the contract to provide emergency response for the Exxon Valdez spill, and we all know how that ended. BP did not have sufficient booms in place to protect the harbor and 20 years later, the spill has not been fully remediated.
Third, where the heck is the Army Corps of Engineers? There is no possible way an operation of this magnitude could be accomplished without heavily coordinated efforts between the Coast Guard on water and the Army Corps on land. But it seems not even the vaguest of efforts to coordinate was attempted. Gov. Jindal has finally given up awaiting for approval by the Army Corps of a permit to build a sand barrier to protect the wetlands and (as of yesterday) commenced construction.
Jindal is going rogue in response to a chain of command that, at best, seems to be flailing to figure out what it's doing. I'm not sure at this point that President Obama should be talking about finger pointing. As far as I can see, all fingers should be pointing to the White House.
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